Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is 'Insanity' A Valid Defense To Ecocide? - 2

In the first post of this series we talked about a mock trial of the type law schools hold each year for their students' edification.

As it turned out, the issue of whether or not insanity is a valid defense was not considered in that trial we spoke of.

The issue of ecocide is quite serious, causing the United Nations to consider adding ecocide to its list of crimes against humanity, because of the damage, death, and destruction already being done:
But should the bosses of polluting companies and the leaders of environmentally-unfriendly states join those responsible for mass murder in the dock. They could if a fifth crime against peace - ecocide - joined that list of human evils? The United Nations is now considering the proposal and the first test of how a prosecution for ecocide would work takes place on Friday, with fossil fuel bosses in the dock at the UK supreme court in London. It is a mock trial of course, but with real top-flight lawyers and judges and a jury made up of members of the public. The corporate CEOs will be played by actors briefed by their legal teams.
(Guardian). That trial the Dredd Blog post spoke of was intended to show what such trials in the International Criminal Court would look like.

Anyway, the jury took a short time of it to return a guilty verdict on two cases, even though that verdict was said not to be a forgone conclusion, since one defendant was found not guilty:
Two verdicts of guilty, one not guilty: that was the conclusion of the mock ecocide trial (details below) held at the UK's supreme court on 30 September. Real lawyers, judges and a public jury found the CEOs of fictional fossil fuel companies guilty of "extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) to such an extent that the peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory, and of other territories, has been severely diminished", as a result of their company's extraction of oil from tar sands in Canada. The jury found one of the CEOs not guilt on the count of damage caused by an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
(ibid). One beneficial effect of these types of trials is that it focuses on the evidence and arguments that are at issue.

The recent Dredd Blog post Thin Ice brings up the story of Al Gore's current trip to Antarctica, one key area of focus in this Ecocide Is A Crime saga.

A post on his blog The Climate Reality Project, written from Antarctica, explains the situation in subdued language, taking the path that projects the least amount of damage from rising seas, yet the post also mentions that several scientists project a far greater sea rise and subsequent damage.

Al's post is a good read with useful links.

If I was Al I don't think I would get too close to "the people's House" of representatives, since they do not like those who resist Ecocide:
Josh Fox, whose HBO documentary “Gasland” raised questions about the safety of the natural gas drilling technique known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing, was handcuffed and led away on Wednesday as he tried to film a House Science Committee hearing on the topic.

The Capitol Police said that Mr. Fox, whose film was nominated for an Academy Award last year, was charged with unlawful entry.

Mr. Fox brought a crew to film a hearing of the energy and environment subcommittee that was looking into an Environmental Protection Agency finding that fracking, as the technique is popularly known, was probably responsible for groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyo.

Mr. Fox is preparing a sequel to “Gasland,” which has contributed to widespread concern about fracking, which uses large volumes of water and chemicals under high pressure to free gas deposits from underground shale.

The chairman of the subcommittee conducting the hearing, Representative Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, objected to the presence of Mr. Fox and his crew as well as another crew under contract to ABC. A committee chairman has the discretion to bar cameras from hearings, according to a committee aide.
(NY Times). One wonders what the "strict constructionists" of the GOP think "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of ...  the press" in the First Amendment means?

It is clearly time for an ethics investigation of the fascist republican heading up that puppet committee.

In a real trial, Monsanto was found guilty of killing a farmer by poisoning him.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post is here.


  1. The oil barons ought to be put on trial because they certainly are criminally insane: Link